First Cook: The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill

In my last post I gave my first impressions of The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill from Char-Broil. Now it's time to see how this bad boy performs. I figured that a roasted chicken is a great place to start.

I started with two chickens that were as close in weight as I could find. They were both within a couple tenths of an ounce of 5 1/4 lbs in the package. By the time I drained and trimmed them, they were probably right at five pounds.

As for prep, I trussed them and seasoned each liberally inside and out with my bold rub. This is essentially the same as my standard mild rub, but with half the sugar and double the chiles and pepper.

I put each one in a zip-top bag and marinated them for 36 hours. Whoa! That is a long time, but it was just because I couldn't find time to cook them sooner. Overnight is more than enough time.

First Cook: The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill

Because I was in a hurry the night I cooked them, I took them out of the fridge and warmed each in the microwave (still in the bag) on defrost for about 2 1/2 minutes each. I would normally just leave them out at room temperature for an hour, but this worked well.

Next I preheated the cooker on high with the basket and half-racks in it for about 10 minutes. Then I removed the half racks, put the first chicken on the bottom of the basket, installed the half racks about an inch above the top of the first chicken, then added the second.

First Cook: The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill

Although the instructions for roasting tell you to cook with the lid open, I was in a hurry and decided to cook with the lid down for 30 minutes then open it to brown the skin. This turned out to be a good plan.

Here is how they looked after an hour of cooking on high; 30 minutes with the lid closed and another 30 with it open. As you can see, the top bird was pretty brown, but what you can't see is that the bottom one wasn't nearly that brown, so I simply rotated them.

First Cook: The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill

When I rotated them I checked the temperature in the thigh and they were at about 150º. They need to get to 165º, so I closed the lid and checked them again fifteen minutes later.

At 75 minutes they were at about 160º, so I opened the lid to give the skin a final crisp. I pulled them off at 90 minutes and rested them for about 15 minutes.

The final verdict with the family was unanimously great. My wife raved about how moist the breast was, and the shorties loved it as well.

I am really impressed with how well this thing cooked the chickens. It was easy and the results spoke for themselves. This is only my first cook, but I am intrigued to see how it smokes and grills.

Special Deal: Use the promo code SZTBEPRO when you order here and receive 20% off.

Additional posts about this cooker:
First Look
The Verdict
Big Easy Turkey

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10 Comments:
Anonymous CB said...
Hiya Daddio - You don't need to "Pre-heat" cause you're using infrared to cook. The infrared energy "turns to heat when it hits the meat!" The juicy little secret is that infrared is what makes our faces red when cooking with charcoal or wood - but those two fires are only about 35% or so infrared. The Big Easy Smoker, Roaster, Grill is 100% infrared. Think of it as "Old School" cooking with "New School" technology and a control knob.
Blogger John Dawson said...
CB - I understand what you're saying, but there has to be heat to create the infrared energy, right? In other words, until the surrounding metal is hot, there isn't much infrared, is there? It's not like a microwave where the maximum energy hits the food instantaneously, is it?

That was the thought process that led me to think that I should preheat it.
Anonymous CB said...
Yes and no. When I put a chicken or turkey in within a few minutes the walls of the cooking chamber heat up and you can start to hear the fat sizzlin' --- so it really is about convenience. Prep the bird, place it in the basket, place the basket in the cooking chamber and turn it on. Check the temp as you go along --- as you recommend.
Anonymous GrillSavvy said...
I also love cooking with the lid closed at he beginning - about 30 or more minutes, it helps to preserve juicy fluids inside the chicken as well as vitamin and some other nutrients. The meat always come out more tender and a bit more tasty, because the ingredients you put in are not burnt and have more time to suck into the meat.
Blogger BuckeyeGrillin said...
You are all correct, although I do start with the lid on. Seems to seal whatever you have in there. The point is, it's pretty hard to screw up with this cooker. I will admit deep fry in grease may have a little better taste, doing away with all that hastle and eating healthier is worth the slight differance.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
hey guys i am a new owner of the big easy electric smoker / roaster and and found an old crock pot cooker that the crock comes out of and found that it sits down inside at perfect level to bake mac and cheese or bread or desserts with that outdoor BAMM!!!! just thought i would share that.it works great to fire roast fresh tom sauce with meatballs.crock will withstand all cooking temps of the unit.also made a vertical roast spit to hang a slow cook roasts for french dips.love experimenting with this thing.you can do alot more with it then you think.happy grilling
Anonymous Daniel said...
That cooked chicken looks amazing, i am impressed as well with how well it cooked.
Blogger John Dawson said...
Daniel - Thanks, but I no longer recommend this cooker. Mine rusted terribly and literally fell apart less than a year after I received it.
Blogger cn said...
what do you recommend now instead instead of this for someone that wants something this easy???
Blogger John Dawson said...
cn - Oh, that's very easy. I wholeheartedly recommend the Pit Barrel Cooker. You can see my posts about it here.

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